A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that BTS World is a free-to-play, interactive story-based adventure available for download on iOS and Android-based mobile devices. Players take an active role in a fictional fantasy tale of how the band members of the popular Korean pop (K-pop) band BTS first came together and debuted as a group. BTS World is essentially a massive promotional tool for BTS, with various fan service items such as video clips, exclusive music, and scripted messages meant to simulate conversations with the band members. The game also requires players to collect and use special motion cards to progress at key parts of the story; these can be purchased with real money or earned after a long time of playing. There's no overt sexual content, although the game does feature a lot of innuendo geared toward appealing to the group's core teen/tween female audience. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.
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What's it about?
BTS WORLD answers a question that fans may be wondering: The K-pop boy band BTS might be a global phenomenon now, but how did the seven band members come together in the first place? Here, you not only learn the story behind the band's formation, but you take an active role in it. After winning a ticket to a BTS concert, things take a turn when you somehow wind up back in 2012, a full year BEFORE the band debuted. As a new, young manager for Big Hit Entertainment, it's up to you to find the BTS members and convince them to work together, setting history back on course. Can you get the boys together and help them bond as a band and as friends? You'll collect exclusive BTS motion cards as you play through the game's story. Then, you'll discover an alternate course of events in Another Story, with each BTS member living out their personal goals and dreams in a world where BTS was never formed.
Is it any good?
Odds are pretty good that if you're reading this, you're either asking "What the heck is 'BTS'?" or you're a card-carrying member of the fandom known as the BTS Army. For those not in the know, BTS is the name of the seven-member-strong Korean pop music (or "K-pop") boy band that has exploded into a global phenomenon, and BTS World cashes in on that popularity by taking players on a fan service-fueled time travel/alternate history "adventure" that's less a game and more an interactive infomercial for the band. Aside from the constant in-your-face promotion of all things BTS, there's even an exclusive music track the band put together solely to promote the game.
The story, such as it is, is a hokey mess packed with live-action video calls, messaging screens, and dialogue that all comes off as if it's been written by a love-struck teenager. Throughout the game, the band members awkwardly and passively flirt with the player, saying how much they missed having seen her and wanting to show off for her attention. There are bits of innuendo, and the player is often portrayed as swooning over the band. Even the collectible cards include live-action motion shots, complete with fake wind and poses that look like they've been ripped from cheesy romance novels. What's worse is that collecting these cards is a necessity to advance the story, meaning you'll either need to stop everything and grind for better versions of the BTS cards, or pay real money in the shop to get what you need to keep the story moving. It's blatant and unabashed commercialism at its worst. The simple fact is, if you're not already a die-hard BTS fan, there's little to nothing that BTS World has to offer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about marketing in games. What are some ways that brands make use of games to reach their audience? How does the interactive nature of gaming help to draw in and keep the attention of fans?
What is it that makes something "trendy"? How have groups like BTS managed to build a fandom that crosses cultural and language barriers?
- Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: June 26, 2019
- Category: Adventure Games
- Topics: Adventures, Arts and Dance, Music and Sing-Along
- Size: 203.20 MB
- Publisher: Netmarble Games Corp.
- Version: 1.0.1
- Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 9.0 or higher; Android 4.4 and up
- Last updated: July 10, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.